Peanut growers will have a special opportunity this week to voice their opinions on the upcoming farm bill.
The Alabama Peanut Producers Association will be holding a listening session for the peanut industry Thursday at The Gathering Place in Headland, Ala., from 2 to 4 p.m. The purpose of the meeting, according to the APPA, is to gather input on the upcoming farm bill as it relates to peanuts.
U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., who serves on the House Agriculture Committee, will attend.
Growers from not only Alabama but also Georgia and Florida are encouraged to attend the meeting. Those three states, known as the Southeast Region, contribute two-thirds of the total peanut production in the United States. The other areas were peanuts are grown are Carolina-Virginia and Texas-Oklahoma.
Congressional discussion of the 2012 Farm Bill started early as debt reduction proposals impact funding set in the current farm bill. Looming issues for peanut growers, according to Southern Peanut Growers Federation lobbyist Bob Redding, include separate payment limits, storage and handling. Writing a producer-friendly farm bill with an adequate safety net will be a tough battle, Redding says.
"This is a perfect storm. ... We have high prices. We have bad weather. A lot of us don't have a crop. And the government is broke," Redding says. "This ride is going to get rough. It's not for anybody that has a weak stomach."
The total commodity portion is 20% of the funding under the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, commonly known as the Farm Bill. That's $64 billion. Direct payments are $34 billion of that. Food and nutrition programs garner the other 80%.
For more information, contact the Alabama Peanut Producers Association at 334-792-6482. The Gathering Place is located at 16070 Hwy 431 North, Headland.